Survey Finds Respondents Turn to Podcasts for Trustworthy Pandemic-Related News
Where have you been getting your news about the pandemic? According to iHeart Media-owned media intelligence company Media Monitors, 45% of the nearly 1,000 respondents they surveyed turn to podcasts for pandemic-related information.
These results come as part of a series of added questions to their Q2 Podcast Listener Survey that focused on the impact of COVID-19 on listening habits. The survey found that many use podcasts as a primary source of information, and even more use podcasts to supplement other sources.
The survey found that COVID-19 had a significant impact on the number of people turning to podcasts for news coverage. Of the podcast listeners surveyed, 23% said that they did not use podcasts as a news source prior to the pandemic.
A whopping 60% indicated that they trust podcasts as a news source much more or more than traditional news outlets. Only 3% felt that podcasts were less trustworthy.
Media Monitors concludes that “COVID-19 has had wide reaching impacts on all aspects of media consumption. In podcasting, it has led to a significant increase in willingness to consume need-to-know information from a less mainstream source. This shift in consumption seems likely to be cemented by the sentiment that podcasts are trustworthy and reliable sources of information.”
Audible Leans Into Podcast Content with New Subscription Service
Audible recently announced the debut of their new discounted all-you-can-listen subscription service, Audible Plus. The subscription costs $7.95 per month and offers unlimited access to over 68,000 hours of content — featuring an array of Audible Originals, audiobooks, and most notably, podcasts.
Some podcasts in the works for the Amazon-owned company’s new model involve the NBA, Malcolm Gladwell, Alicia Silverstone, Josh Gad, Michael Caine, and others, with Wondery on tap to distribute the shows. Some of this content will be considered part of the Audible Originals catalog, though it is unclear how that breaks down among the 11,000 titles said to be included at launch.
Naturally, Audible needs a strategy to make listeners see the value in paying a subscription fee for access to their audio content. After all, other platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify offer listeners unlimited access to over a million podcasts at no cost.
One perk of the new Audible Plus: all of the shows on their platform — including third-party content — will be ad-free when the product debuts. However, there is no guarantee on how long their content will stay ad-free.
The other benefit being touted as part of this paid subscription is Audible’s focus on quality over quantity. Audible is opting to pass on using RSS feeds to populate their platform in favor of a more curated approach that involves striking exclusive deals with podcast publishers.
Audible’s Head of U.S. Content Rachel Ghiazza says, “What makes us distinct or different is really our focus on expertly curated content, and then also that high quality and that bar of narrative storytelling — that stuff with a beginning, middle, and end.”
Currently, only existing Audible customers can preview Audible Plus content. New users can sign up starting today.
New Study Finds Podcast Advertising Highly Effective in Brand Lift
A recent study out of Signal Hill Industries in Toronto found that podcast advertising is an effective tool for brand lift. While marketers often focus on conversion and sales data, Signal Hill founder and President Jeff Vidler explained that, “Brand lift studies give advertisers perspective into how a campaign is performing in the early steps of the consumer journey.”
The findings of the Signal Hill study align with other recent investigations that have started to shut down the argument that the impact of podcast advertising cannot be measured.
Researchers for Signal Hill gave two groups a podcast to listen to, one with advertising and one without. Then, they tested each group’s brand recall and measured whether the group that heard the advertising took action later.
The results were indisputable: Meal kit delivery service HelloFresh saw a 164% increase in unaided brand awareness, and direct-to-consumer razor company Billie saw a 117% increase. Both brands also saw an increase in consumers who took action.
As brands shift their marketing strategies in response to the changing consumer landscape sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing an increased investment in podcast ad buys.
Vidler says, “The hope is that once life goes back to ‘normal’ – whatever that will look like – their brand will be top-of-mind.” Now, there’s data to back up the anecdotal evidence that podcast advertising works.
Although this study focused on direct-to-consumer products, Signal Hill has also conducted similar podcast advertising brand lift studies for more traditional brands like Chanel. Once again, podcast advertising proved to be a highly effective tool for brand lift — showing a huge 206% jump in unaided awareness for Chanel.